Leaving Elgin will be bittersweet for boys basketball coach Mike Sitter. The 47-year-old is stepping down from his post at Elgin after this school year to become the athletic director at Hampshire, effective July 1.
Sitter will replace current Whip-Purs athletic director Dave Hicks, who is retiring after 11 years at Hampshire and 38 years total in high school athletics.
For Sitter, the timing was right.
“My family and I had talked about how this was going to be my last year coaching anyway,” Sitter said. “Hampshire was just the perfect opportunity. It’s a growing school, the population is growing, the facilities are top notch. It’s got a great administration. I thought this would be a great first step for me into running an athletic program.”
Sitter’s youngest son, Jack, is a senior on the Elgin basketball team. With both his sons out of high school after this year, he figured it was time for a new professional challenge.
Sitter has been the head boys basketball coach at Elgin for 11 seasons, winning three regional titles. He also was the head boys golf coach for the past three seasons and has coached lower-level football and baseball. In total, he has been coaching and teaching social studies at his alma mater for 17 years. Before that, he coached at Round Lake for three years.
His wife, Sarah, also is a teacher in the Elgin-based School District U46. The Sitter family lives in Elgin.
“I like to grow; I like to learn,” Sitter said. “I’ve been coaching and teaching for so long, I’d like to conquer a new frontier.”
Sitter earned his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois and earned a master’s degree in leadership from Aurora University.
Hicks, 60, believes he will be leaving the Hampshire athletic department in good hands. Hicks, who also lives in Elgin, knew Sitter from when their sons played on the same travel baseball team a while back.
“I just feel real good about Mike coming in, and I think he’s ready to transition into something else,” Hicks said. “He’s looking for a new challenge, and I think he’s the right guy for the job.”
Hicks was the athletic director at Larkin before taking the position at Hampshire. He was a coach in boys soccer, girls basketball and baseball at various schools in the south suburbs before that.
Hicks has led the Hampshire athletic program throughout the past decade since the high school opened its new building in 2008. Hampshire had an enrollment of 603 students in 2007-08, the last year in the old building, and has ballooned to 1,588 students today, according to enrollment numbers listed by the IHSA.
“It’s like watching your own kids grow,” Hicks said. “I was always impressed with how the kids and the coaches responded to new challenges. It’s been fun. It’s been a pleasure to serve the kids in the community and their parents.”
Sitter believes his coaching experience will help him once he takes over his new position next summer.
“Dave Hicks has done an outstanding job,” Sitter said. “I’m not coming in with experience as an athletic director. I’m coming in with experience as a coach and mentoring younger coaches around me and developing players. I just hope to mentor the young coaches and hopefully help them achieve some high levels that maybe they haven’t achieved before.”